Clean Beauty Guide: What to Look For in Products

Beauty, Blog, Style

Exploring the world of clean beauty can feel like sifting through a jungle of buzzwords. With terms like “organic” and “all-natural” flying around, it’s tough to know where to start. Yet, understanding what to look for in clean beauty products is more than a trend; it’s about making informed choices for your health and the environment. This guide is your trusty sidekick, showing you the ropes and making sure we steer clear of that sneaky greenwashing.

Table of Contents:

Understanding Clean Beauty: A Comprehensive Guide

What is Clean Beauty?

When people talk about “clean beauty,” they’re really just referring to any makeup or skincare goodies that ditch the synthetic chemicals for more natural ingredients. We’re talking everything you need for that glow-up, from your skincare routine to the perfect makeup and even what you use on your hair.

Clean beauty doesn’t necessarily have one definition. A clean beauty brand might be vegan, organic, or biodegradable, or it may not be any of those things. The issue with not having clear criteria for clean beauty is that it opens the doors for brands to make hollow claims for marketing purposes i.e. greenwashing.

The Evolution of the Clean Beauty Industry

More people than ever are interested in personal care products that are better for them and the planet. Many now realize that what we put on our skin matters, and that traditional beauty products have long contained artificial and harmful chemicals.

In the beauty industry today, we often see brands use terms like natural, conscious or clean to promote their products. But what is clean beauty and how do you know if a product is indeed better for you?

Clean vs. Traditional Beauty Products

What Is Clean Beauty? It depends on who you ask. The definition varies from brand to brand and person to person because “clean” (or “natural” or “green”) is not a regulated term.

But you can look for products stamped with clean beauty seals (EWG Verified and Ecocert are two good ones) or read labels while keeping in mind Allure’s clean beauty standard. For us to consider a product “clean,” it’s got to be free of the following ingredients: parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, silicones, polyethylene and polypropylene (microbeads), metallic aluminum, triclosan, talc, mineral oil, petrolatum, formaldehyde, toluene, and chemical sunscreens (such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate).

Identifying Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics

Common Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

For us to consider a product “clean,” it’s got to be free of the following ingredients: parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, silicones, polyethylene and polypropylene (microbeads), metallic aluminum, triclosan, talc, mineral oil, petrolatum, formaldehyde, toluene, and chemical sunscreens (such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate).

Now, let’s dive into a list of the usual suspects – those not-so-great ingredients lurking in many everyday makeup and skincare products. Many of these chemicals have been linked to health issues like hormone disruption, skin irritation, and even cancer.

Health Risks Associated with Toxic Ingredients

Many now realize that what we put on our skin matters, and that traditional beauty products have long contained artificial and harmful chemicals. These toxic ingredients can pose serious health risks over time.

For example, phthalates, commonly found in fragrances, have been linked to endocrine disruption and developmental issues. Parabens, used as preservatives, are known to mimic estrogen in the body and have been associated with breast cancer. Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

The Importance of Ingredient Transparency in Clean Beauty

Ingredient Labeling Standards

If you’ve recently gone down the aisles of your favorite store or market’s beauty section, you’ve probably seen the increase in beauty products that are labeled as “clean,” “sustainable,” “organic,” “all-natural,” and “green.” These terms sound very on-trend with sustainability buzzwords, but we’re sure you’re wondering what makes these products truly clean.

Unfortunately, the beauty industry is largely unregulated when it comes to ingredient labeling. Companies are not required to disclose all the ingredients in their products, especially when it comes to fragrances which can contain hundreds of chemicals.

Misleading Marketing Claims

The issue with not having clear criteria for clean beauty is that it opens the doors for brands to make hollow claims for marketing purposes i.e. greenwashing. Just because a product claims to be “natural” or “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s non-toxic or safe.

Many brands will use small amounts of natural ingredients in their formulas just so they can promote them on the label, while still using potentially harmful chemicals. This is why ingredient transparency is so crucial in the clean beauty movement.

Role of Certifications and Seals

One way to cut through the noise of misleading marketing claims is to look for third-party certifications and seals. Organizations like the Environmental Working Group (EWG), ECOCERT, and Leaping Bunny have stringent standards for ingredient safety and transparency.

When you see their logos on a product, you can feel more confident that it meets a high bar for non-toxic, cruelty-free, and sustainably sourced ingredients. However, it’s important to note that not all clean beauty brands pursue these certifications due to the time and expense involved.

Leading Clean Beauty Brands

As the demand for clean beauty products grows, more and more brands are entering the space. At Color Street, all the new makeup lines are being created with clean beauty standards at the core. They are also being produced in Korea, which has high standards than here in the US.

When it comes to skincare, my favorite clean brand is Lemongrass Spa. I love using it to fill in the gaps for makeup that Color Street doesn’t yest provide.

These brands really stand out because they don’t just talk the talk when it comes to what’s in their products—they’re all about making sure you know exactly what you’re getting, and that it’s both safe for you and kind to our planet. They offer a wide range of skincare, makeup, and haircare products that are free from harmful chemicals and toxins.

Sustainable Packaging and Ethical Sourcing Practices

Besides sticking to clean ingredients, many brands in the clean beauty scene are putting a big emphasis on being kind to our planet and making sure they get their materials from places that do right by people and nature. This includes using eco-friendly packaging materials like glass, aluminum, and post-consumer recycled plastic.

Some brands, like RMS Beauty and Kjaer Weis, offer refillable packaging to reduce waste. Others, like Herbivore Botanicals, prioritize using organic, wildcrafted, and fair trade ingredients.

Brand Trustworthiness

When navigating the world of clean beauty brands, it’s important to do your research and look for brands that prioritize transparency and accountability. Look for brands that openly share their ingredient lists, sourcing practices, and manufacturing processes.

Be wary of brands that make vague or unsubstantiated claims about being “natural” or “non-toxic” without backing it up with specific information. A trustworthy clean beauty brand will be upfront about what’s in their products and how they’re made.

Key Takeaway:

Looking for clean beauty products? Make sure they’re free from harmful ingredients like parabens and phthalates. Trust seals from EWG or Ecocert, and always check labels for transparency. Remember, “natural” doesn’t always mean safe.

How to Shop for Clean Beauty Products

So, let’s dive into what you should keep an eye out for when hunting down those clean beauty products in today’s bustling market.

Reading and Understanding Ingredient Labels

If you’ve recently gone down the aisles of your favorite store or market’s beauty section, you’ve probably seen the increase in beauty products that are labeled as “clean,” “sustainable,” “organic,” “all-natural,” and “green.” These terms sound very on-trend with sustainability buzzwords, but we’re sure you’re wondering what makes these products truly clean.

By opting for milder formulas without any of those harsh chemicals, you’re way less likely to end up with irritated skin. A clean beauty product is less likely to strip the skin of its natural oils or disrupt its delicate balance, nurturing and nourishing the skin instead.

Plenty of clean ingredients are out there, packing a punch with essential hydration, plus all the vitamins and minerals your skin craves for that healthy glow and vitality.

Identifying ‘Free of’ Lists

Clean beauty also recognizes individuals’ sensitivity levels or preferences for skincare products. By offering a range of options free from certain ingredients, clean beauty allows consumers to make choices that align with their specific needs and values, reducing the likelihood of adverse reactions or discomfort.

When shopping for clean beauty products, look for “free of” lists that clearly state what ingredients are excluded. Common ingredients to avoid include:

  • Parabens
  • Sulfates (SLS/SLES)
  • Phthalates
  • Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents
  • Oxybenzone
  • Triclosan
  • Hydroquinone
  • Artificial fragrances and colors

Brands that really care about being open will make it a breeze for you to spot what’s not in their recipes.

Recognizing Greenwashing Tactics

The issue with not having clear criteria for clean beauty is that it opens the doors for brands to make hollow claims for marketing purposes i.e. greenwashing.

Greenwashing is when a company uses misleading or false claims to make their products seem more eco-friendly or natural than they really are. Some common greenwashing tactics include:

  • Using vague or unregulated terms like “natural,” “green,” or “eco-friendly” without substantiation
  • Highlighting one eco-friendly aspect while ignoring other harmful practices
  • Making claims that are technically true but irrelevant, like “CFC-free” (CFCs are banned anyway)
  • Using green imagery or packaging to imply a product is natural or clean

To avoid falling for greenwashing, look beyond the front label claims. Check the ingredient list, research the brand’s sustainability practices, and look for third-party certifications like EWG Verified, Leaping Bunny, or USDA Organic to verify their claims.

By understanding what to look for and what to avoid, you can confidently navigate the world of clean beauty and find products that truly align with your values and needs. Happy clean beauty shopping.

Key Takeaway:

When hunting for clean beauty, always check ingredient labels for harmful stuff like parabens and phthalates. Avoid greenwashing by looking past fancy claims to what’s really in there.

FAQs in Relation to What to Look for in Clean Beauty Products

What should I look for in clean skin care products?

Focus on labels with clear ingredient lists, avoiding harsh chemicals. Look for certifications that back up their claims.

How do I choose clean beauty products?

Prioritize items free from parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances. Check if they use sustainable packaging and ethical sourcing.

How do you know if a beauty product is clean?

If it’s made without harmful ingredients and the brand values transparency about what goes into their formulas, it’s clean.

What is considered a clean beauty product?

A product formulated without toxic additives, prioritizing natural or organic ingredients while ensuring efficacy and safety qualifies as clean.

Conclusion

So there we have it, a straightforward dive into deciphering what to look for in clean beauty products. It’s not about chasing after every new fad that claims eco-friendliness or slapping an ‘organic’ label on everything. Real wisdom lies in knowing which ingredients serve us well and which ones don’t belong anywhere near our bodies. Just remember, real change starts with small steps – opting for one cleaner product at a time can lead towards healthier skin and planet alike.

The journey towards embracing cleaner personal care doesn’t end here; think smart assistants but for your skincare routine – guiding you away from harmful chemicals toward gentler alternatives that do their job without causing harm.